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Senator says VW will give CUV to Tennessee plant if they reject UAW

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Old 02-13-14, 10:12 AM   #1
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Default Senator says VW will give CUV to Tennessee plant if they reject UAW

Topic relates to both a CUV (Car Chat) and Unionization (Clubhouse). Move or Leave if appropriate here



Senator says VW will give CUV to Tennessee plant if they reject UAW


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The ongoing drama that is the possible unionization of the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga has just had an enormous twist - Republican Senator Bob Corker said yesterday during the first of a three-day, secret-ballot vote at the factory, that he has been "assured" by VW that if the Chattanooga plant votes against UAW unionization, it will be awarded production of a new mid-size crossover, a model we've speculated will be a production version of the CrossBlue Concept.

"I've had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," Corker said, according to Yahoo! News.

Now, ignoring the fact that Corker's history with the UAW is adversarial at best and venomous at worse, it should be pointed out that the Senator's statements run counter to everything VW has said about unionization up until this point. In fact, back in October, we reported on allegations by Chattanooga factory workers that a senior member of VW said the plant might not get the new crossover if it didn't organize. And just last month, we reported that the Chattanooga factory was in the lead to get the new CUV. So you can understand why we're a little surprised by the boldness of the Senator's proclamation.

The Chattanooga factory, meanwhile, has issued its own statement on the matter, with Frank Fischer, the plant's president and CEO saying, "There is no connection between our Chattanooga employees' decision about whether to be represented by a union and the decision about where to build a new product for the U.S. market."

Corker's statement brings up a number of questions, not the least of which involve the continued legitimacy of the current vote. According to Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, a professor of labor at the University of Indiana and an expert on the National Labor Relations Board who spoke to Yahoo! News, Corker's statements "would be grounds to set the election aside and have to run it all over again at a later date" because the interference could be considered illegal under federal labor laws.

Based on Dau-Schmidt's comments, it almost seems like Corker could be deliberately trying to invalidate this vote in favor of a new one at a later date. That could be the case if the Senator has enough reason to believe that the plant will go to the UAW, as holding a new vote at a later date could give anti-union forces more time to campaign amongst workers. That's total speculation on our part, but it might explain Corker's statements.

Meanwhile, other experts are questioning the legality of Corker's statement. "The Senator's comments amount to economic intimidation that undermines the whole nature of union representation elections," Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at the University of California-Berkeley told Yahoo! "If the senator's statement doesn't violate the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit of the law."

As we've been doing throughout this saga, we'll stay with this one, and will update you when any additional information comes out.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/13/s...e-controversy/
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Old 02-13-14, 03:17 PM   #2
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i'm sure vw doesn't like corker letting the cat out of the bag, but of course vw is smart for making that demand.
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Old 02-15-14, 08:18 AM   #3
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And vw workers reject uaw

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...n_4792424.html
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Old 02-15-14, 12:18 PM   #4
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VW CUV here we come
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Old 02-16-14, 12:07 PM   #5
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I'm not sure that the vote to reject the union was a good idea....I think they fell for a bluff. VW probably couldn't afford to shut down the plant, regardless of the vote. I would have cost them more to do so (and have an idle, unproductive plant not generating any vehicles/sales) than it would to just simply go ahead and pay the workers UAW rates.

UAW wages or not, the plant would have had to build SOMETHING (even inexpensive, entry-level VW products), UAW wages or not, to keep from VW having to pay the expenses of shutting it down and loss of sales. So, as I see it, the workers, out of fear, simply tossed some of their potential money and benefits aside for the so-called "issue" of job security and CUV production....which really was not an issue to start with, as production of SOME vehicle would have occurred at the plant either way.
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Old 02-16-14, 01:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
I'm not sure that the vote to reject the union was a good idea....I think they fell for a bluff. VW probably couldn't afford to shut down the plant, regardless of the vote. I would have cost them more to do so (and have an idle, unproductive plant not generating any vehicles/sales) than it would to just simply go ahead and pay the workers UAW rates.

UAW wages or not, the plant would have had to build SOMETHING (even inexpensive, entry-level VW products), UAW wages or not, to keep from VW having to pay the expenses of shutting it down and loss of sales. So, as I see it, the workers, out of fear, simply tossed some of their potential money and benefits aside for the so-called "issue" of job security and CUV production....which really was not an issue to start with, as production of SOME vehicle would have occurred at the plant either way.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but i don't think the factory was going to be shut down. The CUV is to be in addition to what's already being produced there

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Old 02-16-14, 03:03 PM   #7
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Correct VW stated they would build in Mexico where they already have plants including Audi.
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Old 02-17-14, 06:38 PM   #8
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but i don't think the factory was going to be shut down. The CUV is to be in addition to what's already being produced there
You're right, the factory probably won't be shut down, because doing so would cost VW more than the plant itself is probably worth....especially if more than one vehicle will be produced there. But I still think that the workers, when they voted, probably fell for a bluff. I don't think that VW would have simply walked away from collective bargaining. Nevertheless, even non-union money at a plant like that will probably be more than with a lot of other local jobs in the area. Tennessee is not noted as a state with particularly high-paying jobs, but the auto industry, in general, pays better than may others.

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Originally Posted by LexFather
Correct VW stated they would build in Mexico where they already have plants including Audi.
While labor can indeed be cheaper in other countries (even compared to American non-union wages), companies, though, often get tax-breaks and other incentives to set up plants and produce here in America. States and localities often go to long lengths to attract and keep buisnesses. That's why I said I'd be very surprised if VW even thinks of shutting the plant down. It just wouldn't make sense.

BTW..............a couple of years ago, VW USA moved their national corporate headquarters to Herndon, VA, a D.C. suburb just a couple of miles from my house. That shows that they aren't really concerned about operating in high-cost areas like this one. The D.C. area has traditionally expensive real estate, and, though I'm not positive on this, I think they did get a tax treak from the county and state to relocate here.

This morning, I saw a black Beetle convertible, on the road near my house, with something I hadn't seen before...a Virginia license plate with "National Corporate HQ" and a small number on it. Special HQ plates like that must be relatively new in the state...it was the first one I'd seen
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Old 02-18-14, 12:25 AM   #9
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Theres a lot of bad press around this, on both sides. Not good for VW imo.
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Old 02-18-14, 04:27 AM   #10
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Good news for Chattanooga. .....and smart move by the factory workers IMO..iaw has some idiotic items in their contracts and I CAN see VW pulling up stakes and heading south (in the future) if uaw was voted in.

So now they get more jobs there. ...win-win
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Old 02-19-14, 03:21 PM   #11
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Default Labor boss threatens to halt VW investments in South if plant isn't unionized

Labor boss threatens to halt VW investments in South if plant isn't unionized


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You didn't think that you'd heard the last of union talk at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, TN, just because workers voted not to join the United Auto Workers, did you? Of course not. And this latest tidbit is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows, as it came straight from Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council in Germany.

[I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again. ... If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor [of another VW plant in the southern US].

In other words, VW's works council, which has to approve any new plants before they can be built, may block further expansion in southern US states due to the area's apparent anti-union stance. If you're wondering why Osterloh – the same VW executive who called its US operations "a disaster" – is still talking about union representation, despite the plant's workers voting not to join, here's the answer: "The conservatives stirred up massive, anti-union sentiments. It's possible that the conclusion will be drawn that this interference amounted to unfair labor praxis."

That anti-union interference can at least in part be directed to US Senator Bob Corker, who, on the first day of voting, said that he has been "assured" by Volkswagen that if the Chattanooga plant voted against UAW unionization, it would get a new midsize crossover to build, likely a production version of the CrossBlue Concept. Other elected Republicans, such as state senator Bo Watson and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, also publicly warned that the plant may lose out on state incentives if it were unionized.

It's also worth noting that any interference with plant workers' right "to choose whether or not to engage in self-organization to form, join, or assist labor organizations" is likely illegal under federal law, although it certainly sounds like plenty of interference has already taken place from both pro- and anti-union sides alike. This being the case, another vote in Chattanooga is certainly a distinct possibility.

In any case, we're quite sure that we've not yet heard the last from Volkswagen, the UAW or Tennessee lawmakers on the issue of unionization in Chattanooga, which, as has been widely reported already, is the only VW plant in the world that isn't represented by a union.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/19/l...s-southern-us/
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Old 02-19-14, 06:36 PM   #12
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Oh we all knew this story wasn't ending……..
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Old 02-19-14, 07:03 PM   #13
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Oh we all knew this story wasn't ending……..
Go on up and talk to them, Mike. Chattanooga isn't very far from Atlanta.
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Old 02-19-14, 07:12 PM   #14
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One interesting point that neither side doesn't seem to have brought up is if the plant is even ready for the production of an all-new SUV there. To prepare for any all-new vehicle takes a lot of preparation and tooling at the factory. Regardless of the union/anti-union vote and its political consequences at VW, the employees at that plant will have to show that they are also up to the job and understand the new vehicle they may (?) be expected to build. One cannot just wave a magic wand or snap fingers and expect things to be ready to go without a hitch....that takes a lot of work and preparation. The parts-suppliers/contractors will also, of course, have to be ready to go, and have the needed parts available to start shipping when the orders come.
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Old 02-21-14, 06:31 PM   #15
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Default After UAW's VW defeat, anti-union forces looking to gain momentum

After UAW's VW defeat, anti-union forces looking to gain momentum


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Emboldened by the defeat of the United Auto Worker's attempt to organize a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN last week, right-wing, anti-union forces are set to go on the offensive to prevent unionization attempts at auto factories in the southern United States.

According to Reuters, the Center for Worker Freedom, an affiliate of Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, has been pushing an agenda on factory workers that tied the unions to President Barack Obama and the Democratic party.

"Not only can you [defeat unions], but if you don't you're a weenie," Norquist (above) said in a phone interview with Reuters. In the case of Chattanooga, the strategy was clear. The UAW's confidence in winning a majority of the factory "meant we had to raise doubts as to what this is all about," Norquist said. "Hence the focus on the challenges with the UAW, with their political view; with how left-wing they are; how they give money to everybody who wants to steal your guns and do crazy things with your resources; how they treat you with contempt and how they'd destroy the city." According to Norquist, that same angle is set to be used if the UAW attempts any other unionization efforts in southern, non-union facilities.

Meanwhile, opposition to unions following the Chattanooga vote hasn't been limited to lobbyists. Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, has gone so far as to tell companies that use union labor not to invest in the state, which strikes us as a decidedly short-sighted move in a still-fragile economy.

"We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don't want to taint the water," Haley said, according to Automotive News. "You've heard me say many times I wear heels. It's not for a fashion statement. It's because we're kicking them every day, and we'll continue to kick them."
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/21/a...uaw-vw-defeat/
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